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Foreign affairs minister heading to Lebanon for 1st overseas trip since start of pandemic

Click to play video: 'Beirut explosion: How Canadians can help on-the-ground humanitarian efforts in Lebanon' Beirut explosion: How Canadians can help on-the-ground humanitarian efforts in Lebanon
Beirut explosion: How Canadians can help on-the-ground humanitarian efforts in Lebanon – Aug 18, 2020

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne will soon travel to Beirut in his first overseas trip since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Champagne will witness the devastation wrought by the deadly explosion earlier this month and hold talks with Lebanon’s president and foreign minister, according to a statement released Saturday.

“Minister Champagne will also meet with Lebanese, Canadian and international humanitarian partners to witness the work of first responders and express Canada’s solidarity with the Lebanese people following this month’s tragedy,” his office said.

Read more: ‘Long-term recovery effort’: How Canadian organizations are helping in Beirut

“The minister will take this opportunity to highlight Canada’s ongoing support for the international response to the crisis in Lebanon, including institutional reforms demanded by the Lebanese people.”

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The Aug. 4 explosion killed 180 people, injured about 6,000 and left nearly 300,000 people homeless. Losses are estimated at US$10 billion to US$15 billion.

Canada has committed $30 million towards recovery, including a pledge to match Canadians’ donations up to $8 million.

Click to play video: 'Beirut facing food and water shortages after deadly blast' Beirut facing food and water shortages after deadly blast
Beirut facing food and water shortages after deadly blast – Aug 16, 2020

As part of his trip, Champagne will visit Switzerland, the U.K. and Italy for meetings with his counterparts in those countries.

In Switzerland, he will also be speaking with the leaders of the World Trade Organization, Red Cross, World Health Organization as well as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

—With files from the Associated Press

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